It took weeks for DC fans to process the fact that Batman would be rebooted as the antagonist of Man of Steel 2 – tentatively titled Batman vs. Superman – only to have their expectations blown out of the water when Ben Affleck landed the part. Considering just how divisive Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel remains, we had assumed that Warner Bros. was through courting controversy after those bombshells.
But since the sequel has been officially announced, more and more rumors have continued to appear. The most explosive of which concerns the possibility of seeing the DC universe’s most famous female cameo – or even play a major role – alongside Batman and Superman. We have to ask: will Wonder Woman actually appear in Batman vs. Superman?
It seemed a safe assumption that with both the dark knight and the big blue Boy Scout sharing the screen (with rumors of a Lex Luthor casting refusing to die), Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder had their hands full. So when word came out that the filmmakers were apparently looking to cast a female lead as Bruce Wayne’s love interest, little was thought of it. But as time passed, the casting call seeking out women who were both “tall” and “possessing physicality” got the rumor mill working overtime.
Now it seems those rumors are turning into… more rumors. The main question being speculated upon: is Zack Snyder secretly casting the DC movie universe’s Wonder Woman? It’s an easy question to ask, and an easy rumor to be excited by, but before anyone gets ahead of themselves, allow us to weigh in with our thoughts on the matter.
Why It Could Be True
There’s a case to be made for the old adage that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” and if the studio was actually looking for potential Wonder Woman actresses, opening up casting for an unnamed character who is tall, strong, physically fit and of just about any ethnicity is a good way to do it quietly. But as Bruce Wayne’s love interest? There’s certainly evidence in the history of DC Comics for a bit of romance between Bruce and Diana.
Taking things a step farther, we’ve already stated our belief that a modern Wonder Woman movie would be groundbreaking for several reasons - one of which is a strong parallel between Diana’s likely entry into the modern world and that of Kal-El in Man of Steel. With Zack Snyder’s insistence on telling a realistic Superman story, it seems logical that Warner Bros. would prefer a Wonder Woman film where Diana doesn’t arrive in Times Square, sporting a golden lasso and an eagle spread across her bust.
If Diana is going to investigate the world of man, placing herself close to Bruce Wayne/Batman would make perfect sense (and is it any coincidence that Superman would also be in close proximity?). Who knows: with the older, wiser and more experienced Batman Affleck will apparently be playing, his teaming up with Wonder Woman to bring a green, inexperienced Superman into their budding super-team would tell a completely new story, while staying true to the essence of each character (and pack serious potential for action sequences).
At this point, it’s hard to be surprised at any announcement made by Snyder or Warner Bros. – a fact that seems to be occurring to casting agencies already. According to BleedingCool, the latest casting calls are seeking out a woman who is between 25 and 33 (or at least “gives the impression” of that age range), and must be physically strong. While Warner Bros. won’t confirm any more details, some agencies are playing it safe and assuming that they’re sending Wonder Woman candidates.
It’s impossible to tell if any of the actresses we’ve nominated to play Wonder Woman are among the group, but at this point the assumptions are based on speculation, so this is far from a smoking gun. And if we’re honest, may end up being a serious case of wishful thinking.
Why It’s Hard To Believe
For starters, the leap from a “tall, younger, physically strong actress” to “we’re casting Wonder Woman” is a pretty massive one – this is a superhero film, after all. And if screenwriter David S. Goyer’s comments claiming that production on the film is much farther along than people realize are accurate, Snyder and co. don’t exactly have time for a thin actress to hit the gym, pack on muscle, and go through fight training. Unless, of course, they were actually casting a character as iconic as Wonder Woman.
Is it possible that the plan is to cast Diana before people even realize it, introduce her in the film in some small capacity, and save her full reveal for the third film, be it Justice League or a standalone adventure? It’s possible. But besides the fact that Warner Bros. has been quite open about their unwillingness to formulate a rigid road map years in advance, we can’t help but think that if that were the case, the actress’ height and build wouldn’t be the top of their list. It also wouldn’t qualify as the “leading role” currently being reported.
“We have to get her right, we have to. She is such an icon for both genders and all ages and for people who love the original TV show and people who read the comics now. I think one of the biggest challenges at the company is getting that right on any size screen.
“She has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she’s tricky.”
Fans don’t need any refreshers on just how badly a Wonder Woman project can go off the rails. David E. Kelley’s defunct NBC pilot aside, Warner Bros. seems to be playing it safe, delaying the proposed Amazon origin series for The CW until it could be re-written, re-tooled, and hopefully done right. With all that in mind, it’s hard to imagine they’re also in the midst of casting by holding open auditions for just about any young actress.
We might have believed that was possible after Cavill was chosen above more established North American actors, but with Affleck now in the bag, it seems less likely they’re willing to take a risk on an unknown. That being said, there are a LOT of other female characters that could be playing a leading love interest in the sequel, with serious ramifications for not only the plot of Batman vs. Superman, but the larger DC universe beyond.
Who Else It Could Be
Unfortunately, the ‘love interest of Bruce Wayne’ casting detail doesn’t help narrow down the possibilities. In fact, it would probably be easier to compile a list of females in the DC universe that Wayne or his alter-ego haven’t been romantically entangled with at one point or another (Wonder Woman still included). But there are a few we can rule out.
For starters, it seems unlikely that the reported casting calls for a ‘young, physically fit’ role and ‘a love interest for Bruce Wayne’ sharing the same attributes are for two different characters; Zack Snyder and Goyer have their hands full with Superman and Lois’ relationship being taken to the next level, and the major role Batman will play. So requiring a love interest of Wayne to be physically fit and at least close to physically imposing hints at a much more complicated story than a simple romance.
Our first guess would always be Catwoman – but with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy so fresh in fans’ minds, we doubt they’d return to the well this soon. But there’s one other major player who could fit the bill: Talia al Ghul.
Some might say that Talia al Ghul already appeared and was… dispatched in The Dark Knight Rises, played by Marion Cotillard. While that’s true, most comic book fans will tell you that the significance and purpose of Talia’s place in the Batman mythology is far greater than that film’s basic revenge fantasy. As the leader of the League of Assassins – not ‘Shadows’ – Talia al Ghul isn’t just one of the deadliest martial artists in the world, but the only true romantic match for Bruce Wayne (and the mother of his child).
If Snyder and Goyer have plans for Batman beyond the sequel, introducing Talia as a romantic interest for Affleck’s Batman would help lay the groundwork. And considering that she also put her true calling under wraps while running Lex Luthor’s company in the comics, she could factor into the Lexcorp-branded Metropolis of Man of Steel, even if Superman’s arch nemesis has yet to be confirmed (or cast).
Talia offers one means of linking Man of Steel to a much larger shared movie universe, but she’s not alone. Offhand, we’d also throw Sasha Bordeaux into the mix. Originally hired as Bruce Wayne’s bodyguard, Sasha ultimately deduced that the billionaire playboy was also Batman. Instead of reporting him, she joined the caped crusader on his nightly exploits, eventually building a romantic relationship before being inducted into the ranks of Checkmate – a covert arm of the US government, long-entwined with superhero activity (and if we’re talking bodyguards, Lex Luthor’s personal enforcer Mercy Graves is a fan-favorite that could also be in play).
If we’re going to see what we’d like to in this casting call, the time seems right for the addition of Barbara Gordon – a.k.a. Batgirl (and later, Oracle) – the daughter of Gotham Police Commissioner James Gordon. To anyone who would scoff at the female version of the dark knight, we’d recommend a bit more education on exactly what has made Barbara Gordon one of the DC Universe’s most beloved female characters, and one of the high points of the New 52 lineup.
She’s smart (brilliant, actually), funny, and is one of the few who looks at a man in a cape and cowl beating criminals to pulp and thinks “I can do that!” For a feature-film, it wouldn’t take much of a re-write to introduce Barbara as following in her father’s footstep, perhaps even a police officer in Metropolis, not necessarily Gotham. Perhaps the flame-haired young woman takes initiative of her own, bringing the good-natured menace of the Bat to good work in Metropolis?
For all the things that the Dark Knight Rises struggled with, introducing a police officer willing to work with Batman was one that audiences strongly responded to. Bringing Barbara into the fold at this point wouldn’t just set the stage for a Justice League strike team, but would thrill fans of the character while piquing the curiosity of average moviegoers who never knew Commissioner Gordon was father the a crime-fighting Batgirl.
Batgirl and Wonder Woman aside, we’re fairly surprised to not see more people jumping on this casting as a clear sign of Supergirl being introduced into the Man of Steel storyline. It was already confirmed before Man of Steel hit theaters that Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer had written her into their new movie universe; so much so that it was odd to see her not hinted at in the finished film.
Is this casting call for a younger, physically fit character not a love interest of Bruce Wayne’s at all, but a pivotal second Kryptonian that might convince Batman to take action, fearing a disaster twice the size of that seen in Man of Steel? That would be a massive bombshell if and when it’s dropped (not for us, though – we’ve wanted to see it happen from the beginning); however, we’d still say there’s more evidence to suggest Kara Zor-El will join the cast of Batman vs. Superman over Wonder Woman.
Do you think Wonder Woman should make an appearance – even a brief one – in Batman Vs. Superman? Is that the perfect way of launching a shared universe, or doomed from the start? Share your thoughts in the comments (and who you think should be cast) in the comments.
Batman vs. Superman will be in theaters on July 17, 2015.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: Bleeding Cool